Thursday 16 September 2021

Cllr Krupa Sheth questioned on Brent Climate Strategy targets and measurement of progress


The public are able to ask Brent Cabinet members a written question at Full Council meetings and follow up the answer at the meeting itself. The questions and answers are published on the Agenda in advance of the meeting.

A key question on the Council's Climate Emergency  Strategy has been asked by local r
esident Pam Laurance:

About a year ago the Council launched the Brent Climate & Ecological Emergency Strategy, with a considerable amount of publicity, setting out specific aims and targets. The First Year Delivery Plan 2021-2022 set out 23 targets for that period. The Strategy documents states that:

'Progress against the key objectives will be monitored and measured regularly, and progress on the delivery of the specific actions in our yearly delivery plans will be reported in detail, alongside a commentary of progress of the overall programme each year. Available datasets and baselines will be measured against the most up to date statistics at the time of the adoption of this plan. This strategy is currently a long-term strategy, but we will keep under review the need to refresh its aims and objectives in the years to come'.

Please will the Council say:


1) What criteria are being used to measure progress?

2) How does the Council plan to keep the public informed on progress?

3) Does the Council believe that any of the targets need to be more ambitious in the light of recent climate developments?


1) What criteria are being used to measure progress?


 The overarching means for measuring progress on direct carbon emissions in the borough is from the local authority dataset provided by the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) each year. It is from this dataset, for example, that we have been able to ascertain that there has been a 35% reduction in total carbon emissions on a borough-wide basis since 2005 (when this method of accounting began) and it is also by utilising this dataset that we are able to analyse different pathways of getting to carbon neutrality by 2030.

Unfortunately, the complexity of carbon accounting means that these figures are only available with an 18-month timelag – and therefore the latest set of figures for Brent is from 2019. We also have a baseline estimate of the consumption emissions (wider greenhouse gases, not just carbon) which are attributed to Brent and one of our key objectives is to reduce these emissions by at least two thirds by 2030. Due to this timelag in receiving specific data, councils are reliant in the meantime on assessing progress through other ‘proxy’ measures which will indicate the direction of travel in reducing emissions. We are currently working on developing an internal dashboard with the council’s Corporate Performance Team which currently includes around 80 potential underpinning long-term indicators and datasets. These can include specific datasets such as EPC ratings, waste statistics, TfL travel data but also through more the practical delivery of initiatives we have set out in our yearly delivery plans. Progress will be reported to Cabinet each year. The current 2021-22 delivery plan for example, comprises of actions that we expect to have a direct impact on emissions, or lay the building blocks for emissions reduction in the future.

2) How does the Council plan to keep the public informed on progress?


 The council has been keeping the public informed of progress through regular updates via Brent’s main communications and engagement channels. This includes the council’s social and digital channels, through news updates, webinars and social media feed on specific projects and themes from the delivery plan as well as in the physical copies of the Your Brent magazine or at any in person event where the climate emergency team has a presence. We have also developed and established the Brent Environmental Network which is now approaching 1000 members. The network is ultimately proposed to be the key overarching mechanism for sustained and ongoing engagement with communities on tackling the climate and ecological emergency and achieving the council’s sustainability aims for the borough. Signed up members receive, at the very least, a monthly e-newsletter which provides information on how individuals can live more sustainably and contribute to tackling the climate emergency, alongside updates about the council’s climate emergency programme and a ‘community corner’ which seeks to shine a light on all of the positive environmental initiatives that are happening in Brent led by brilliant individuals and local organisations. Members also receive specific alerts about local events, issues or new initiatives like grant funding as and when necessary. We have also established and meet regularly with the Brent Environmental Network Advisory Group not only as a means of providing updates, but also to gather regular community input on how we expand our engagement to all of Brent’s communities. As an example of an outcome of this work, we are also hoping to develop new dedicated social media platforms for the Brent Environmental Network as a means of providing even more regular and dedicated information about environmental initiatives in Brent. We have also committed to providing a comprehensive yearly report to cabinet which set out the progress made against all actions within the yearly delivery plans, plus any key contributing actions which have developed through the course of the year outside the formal delivery plan. This report will also be the opportunity for cabinet to approve future yearly delivery plans.

3) Does the Council believe that any of the targets need to be more ambitious in the light of recent climate developments?

Page 41 of the Council’s Climate and Ecological Emergency Strategy sets out of that this is a long-term strategy but that we will keep under review the need to refresh its aims and objectives in the years to come. Whilst recent weather events around the world and in London, plus the findings of the IPCC report, have been very troubling, we are one of only twelve London councils to have adopted a carbon neutrality target both for our own operations and for borough wide emissions by 2030. We therefore sincerely feel that we are being as ambitious as we can be with resources at our disposal at the present time. We remain open to ideas and suggestions from residents or communities as to what else the council can do to upscale our plans. We are very clear throughout the strategy document that the council cannot achieve these targets alone and we need all individuals and communities in Brent to play their part and strive for carbon neutrality.




Paul Lorber said...

If the Labour run Brent Council are serious about Climate Change and serious about tackling impact of Council policies than Labour Councillors better look at this UCL Report and review their policy of imposing ever taller Monster Tower Blocks on our area.

The report makes it very clear that taller buildings require at least twice as much energy per square metre as smaller buildings.

Bet the Council's Planning P0olicies do not take this into account when Councillors are recommended to approve another 28+ storey Tower Block!

Anonymous said...

Wrong to imply that height is an avoidable luxury in a densely populated area - indeed, UCL say as much themselves: “These options depend critically however on the sizes of sites.”

Makes no sense to me why you’d take such a regressive nimby attitude to essential housing.

Why not focus on more enviro-credible construction methods? Why not campaign for passive housing, or newer timber-based materials?

Give me something positive to support, please! This negative stuff is not helping.

Anonymous said...

Families on the local housing waiting list are desperate for long term homes with a garden yet these 'luxury' tower blocks are being marketed to overseas investors and will probably stand empty - shameful!